It is a startling prediction that highlights the grim reality of our surroundings. According to one of the world’s leading ice experts, the final collapse of the Arctic sea ice will take place in summer months within four years time.
In a recent article, the Guardian profiles the predications of Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University. Wadhams calls the phenomenon a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes. He reportedly calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.
In an email to the Guardian he writes: “Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades’ time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward.”
The Guardian reports that Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the Arctic Ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007, when the previous lowest extent of 4.17 million square kilometres was set. This year, it has unexpectedly plunged a further 500,000 sq km to less than 3.5m sq km.
He blames this shrinkage squarely on rising temperatures.
Wadhams tells the Guardian that the implications are terrible: “The positives are increased possibility of Arctic transport, increased access to Arctic offshore oil and gas resources. The main negative is an acceleration of global warming.”
Earlier this month, Wadhams endorsed geoengineering – a study often ridiculed by scientists and questioned due to its moral implications. Geoengineering includes using man-made devices to reflect the sun’s rays back into space, making clouds whiter and seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.